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Lighter Shades of Grey

Derek R. King Author Interview

(the) Elegy is a collection of poetry that explores the darker emotions of humanity and push the reader to explore emotions that are uncomfortable. What was the inspiration for this collection of poems?

It certainly does, but there is a deep background to ‘the Elegy’ that may go some way to explaining the book’s content.

I had a close friend who was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with a grade four brain tumour, a fatal diagnosis. That was a real shock to me, and led me to explore feelings of grief, impending death, life and the value we place on life, as well as some of the mundane things we get sucked into by media and advertising etc that, in reality, are just froth and bubbles when faced with certain life altering situations. But ‘the Elegy’ isn’t always pitch black, there are some lighter shades of grey in there too.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Within the scenario outlined above, it was really important to me to drill down and question what are the things we truly value in our lives, what would we miss the most when the end time comes. As well as questioning the meaning of things we encounter in everyday life. For example, marketing and adverting, how the message is presented and delivered, societal values and concerns, how we can sometimes be led to certain things unknowingly and without realising what is actually happening. I think you touched on that in your review to be fair.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this collection?

Like the prior two books in this trilogy, “Noir (or When the Night Comes) and “Natyre Boy”, this book also consists of four sections.

I wanted to try to encourage folks to think about things, as the back cover poem states ‘Elegy or legacy, you decide,’ meaning you decide how you want your life to turn out.

Each section confronts different scenarios, some more challenging than others, with the final section, somewhat more of a resurrection, and making clear there is always hope.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Solo project wise, and with the trilogy now complete, I’m returning to much happier joyful themes with a second volume of love poetry, ‘More Twelve Red Roses in Verse’ slated for release in January 2023. Other solo projects to follow. And I am also highly excited to continue my collaborations with awesome author/ poet Julie Kusma, who herself has a solo project ‘We Three’ slated for spring publication.

Collaboration wise we release The Enchanted Winter Faerie Realm in February 2023, a follow-up to last year’s successful The Enchanted Faerie Realms and around another twenty books are slated throughout the year, from alphabet concept books, keepsake, educational and inspirational books and much more besides. It is a hugely exciting time for us and we look forward to continuing our secondary schools talks on creative writing.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website | Amazon

Who knows where we will be in decades to come.
The sun will rise as the moon begins to wane.
The river will flow, the deer will run,
swans will glide on water and fly through air.
And these stones?
Well, they’ve been here for millennia already.
Elegy or legacy?
Ah, that’s for you to decide.

Our Planets

The wide, wonderful world of outer space has fascinated humankind since the beginning of time. Looking up from our own planet, Earth, millions of stars light up the night, prompting many people and cultures to muse about the far-flung reaches above us in the ebony skies. Our Planets: Moons, Myths, and More by Derek King and Julie Kusma builds on this inherent curiosity. Exploring the solar system, with the many varied planets in our “neighborhood,” this gorgeously illustrated introduction to the infinite possibilities of space is the perfect guide for the budding scientist or explorer in your life.

This journey across the solar system is full of fun. Each planet has an adorable space alien and intrepid astronaut as a guide as readers learn about the eight planets, with declassified Pluto still honored with an entry. A comprehensive glossary of terms helps newcomers understand the terminology of space science and further define their world. However, the book does not focus on scientific statistics alone. Also included are the fascinating myths surrounding each planet’s name, as well as popular culture references that feature each individual celestial sphere.

The stunning illustrations on each page, full of light and color, draw the reader further into exploring the universe. And the fun doesn’t end there! Featuring a playable board game and printable planet cards at the back of the book, the journey comes to a most satisfying conclusion, with a page of further resources for you and your junior scientist to learn even more about the solar system.

Prompting further research even for older readers like myself, this beautiful guide to the solar system is a must-have for readers 7 and up who love to gaze up at the night sky and imagine what must be up there. Perfect for reading together or independently, Our Planets: Moons, Myths, and More by Derek King and Julie Kusma is an engaging, informative, and beautiful introduction to the exploration of our vast universe.

Pages: 79 | ASIN : B0B6CYH31X

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Nature Is Amazing

Author Interview Julie L. Kusma
Author Interview Derek R. King

Our Trees: Botanics, Beliefs, & More is a fun and creative book for families to learn together about the many uses and the history of different trees. What was the inspiration for writing this book?

I love nature, hence my book Naytre Boy, and with Julie here in Scotland with me I just had to share all the different trees. As does all our conversations, this led us down a rabbit hole of research and adventure.

Julie just loved the Ogham alphabet and I loved the connection and the ancient knowledge associated with the trees. This became the foundation of Our Trees: Botanics, Beliefs, & More.

Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?

​Yes, the plethora of information surrounding these sacred trees in Celtic culture was amazing. We had to find a way to include all of this information in a clear and friendly manner. I took as many photographs as I could and Julie wove the information and images on each page.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

​Nature is amazing. The knowledge our ancestors had of each tree, their properties, and how to best utilise these gifts merits respect.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

We recently published Our Planets: Moons, Myths & More as part of Our Education Series and for Halloween, we have just published Our Halloween: Mysteries, Monsters & More, Alphabites: The Alphabet One Bite at a Time, and Jaggy Little Babies. All three were so much fun to create and we are loving watching them climb the Amazon charts. As for current projects, we have many, but our next releases will for the holiday gift season and include a sequel to Honey: Words to Heal & Mend, entitled Nectar: Words Of Self Love & Care which follows in the Kintsugi tradition. Additionally, and this is the first time anyone has heard this, we are releasing a children’s inspirational book entitled With Love, the Universe this book is full of affirmations for authenticity.

Author Links Julie: Website | Twitter | TikTok | YouTube

Author Links Derek: Website | Twitter | TikTok

If you are looking for an inspirational, educational, and beautiful book, Our Trees is the book to have in your bookcase. This book isn’t only for the adults in your family but can be used as a tool to teach children the value and meaning of nature.

Our Trees takes you on a botanical exploration of various trees and their symbolic meanings. Each page fills you with the knowledge that past generations knew–what each tree symbolized, their medicinal properties, and many other uses for each.

Your children will love the games included inside, from a board game to a word search and even a puzzle. Our trees is a family-friendly book that will entertain and inform everyone who reads it.

You will adore the short story at the end of this book—“Why Trees Lose Their Leaves” is a heartwarming tale of bravery and selflessness. It is a perfect story for all, especially children.

Our Trees

If you are interested in biology and nature, Our Trees: Botanics, Beliefs, & More is definitely the book for you. In this book, you will find a compendium of trees that include past beliefs from ancient Celtic cultures and what the trees represented. You can also read about the medicinal properties and uses that the tree can offer to this day.

This fun yet informative book is also family-friendly and even has activities for kids. These games will encourage children to want to know more about the green giants that surround them. I definitely recommend reading this incredible walk through nature.

This book is aesthetically pleasing and is also very informative. Readers will definitely learn a ton about what trees can offer us. I love a book that is written with the goal of educating today’s youth and Our Trees does exactly that. While I enjoyed the book, I would have liked a deeper explanation of the Celtics Runes, because I found them so fascinating and I wanted more information.

I also enjoyed that it is an interactive book. The fact that the book has activities and games for all of the family to enjoy takes the learning experience to a whole other level. The games are a great recreational activity but they also reinforce the knowledge that is spread throughout the pages of this wonderful book.

I would even recommend it to teachers for their classrooms. You could do a whole week of activities for your students from the ideas in this amazing book. The short story at the end of this illuminating book also provides a thought-provoking narrative that will give children plenty to ponder after they put this book down.

If you are a fan of nature or are curious about learning more about trees, don’t miss out on Our Trees: Botanics, Beliefs, & More. This is an enlightening and informative book that provides an interesting array of facts about trees.

Pages: 100 | ASIN: B09TN3H6ZS

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Paint Pictures With Words

Derek R. King Author Interview
Derek R. King Author Interview

Natyre Boy is a vivid collection of thought-provoking poetry on nature. What inspires you to write a piece of poetry?

It’s usually something I’ve experienced, been part of or seen which provides that wee creative spark of inspiration. I guess to some extent I’m an observer of life in all its forms and I try to capture those fleeting and precious moments as best I can in poetry.

It’s really important to me to convey both the visual scene and the feelings experienced in those moments too, to make them as near as I can to a shared experience with the reader. I always hope I can paint pictures with words. That probably sounds pretty pretentious, but it’s really not meant be, more of a mission statement than anything else.

My favorite poem from the collection is ‘Autumn Seas’. Do you have a favorite poem in this collection?

I do, I have a couple. The poem/ rhyme which makes me smile the most is ‘Entomology – Lesson 1’. It was such fun to write, and captures a fair bit over its eight short lines.

The other favourite is ‘Revelry.’ It is both very recent, so recent in fact it was a stop the press moment, and it was an incredibly spontaneous response to a photograph a friend posted on social media. The photo appeared and around thirty seconds later the poem popped. I love it when that kind of thing happens, the real spontaneous stuff, you know?

What are some poetic devices that you like using?

That’s a really interesting question. I don’t consciously set out to use any of the poetic devices, they just kind of invite themselves in depending on a poem’s topic. Rhythm, rhyme, metaphors and a bit of alliteration, I do use others but those would be the main ones. The other thing I try to do, which comes from my musical background I guess, is I consider how a piece would be performed. For example, would a series of words on a single line of poetry be delivered in one continuous stream or would it be split with pauses between words to accentuate, or create dramatic effect. So I have that strand in the back of my mind, sometimes I ‘hear’ the poems more as a performed lyric if that makes sense.

Do you plan to write and publish more works of poetry?

Yes, thanks for asking. There’s a third volume in this collection, also being published by the lovely folks at 8N Publishing with a planned release in Fall 2022. It’s progressing well, I’m happy to say. Like ‘Noir [or When The Night Comes]’ and ‘Natyre Boy’, there is a core theme that runs throughout this third volume and once more the cover has been created by Jane Cornwell so the three volumes are a suite as it were.

I’m also working on a short novel, which was unexpected, so we shall see where that goes in due course.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

From icy winter’s
chilling winds to
the warmth of
summer’s mellow breeze
the natural world can
in time, heal all
it sees.
Majestic and inspiring
with colours that astound
take heed of these moments
and the beauty all around.

Natyre Boy

Natyre Boy by [Derek R. King]

Dazzling seascapes, soft fields brimming with flowers, and the homes of mythological beings are just some of the places you’ll be transported to by the words of Derek King in his collection Natyre Boy. The exotic images he evokes tell the story of the land over the course of a year, visiting all the seasons and the changes they may bring, through storms and calm, over a variety of landscapes. While King’s poetry is often kept short, it’s nonetheless effective in telling a vivid tale that blooms in the imagination, much like so many of the flowers he describes. 

Natyre Boy is King’s second collection of poems and focuses, and you may surmise, on the natural world around us and the beauty it both possesses and exudes. It brings to mind images of idyllic, lazy days spent gazing out at the ocean, or laying in a field as bees and butterflies flit about. King’s use of language is superb, often proving that less is more in the way he can paint a complete picture over the course of just several lines. Occasionally I felt that the rhythm stumbles a bit and a poem may be a bit awkward in the way it reads, but that is a rare occurrence as more often they flow with an unbothered ease, reflecting the endless march of nature that will continue one way or another. Deeper than the poems themselves, the collection is also a commentary on the cylindrical nature of all life and the fact that nothing lasts forever, despite whatever attempts may be made to that end.

Natyre Boy is not only easy to read but solidly enjoyable. The poems exude joy and warmth in their language and delivery, creating scenes of bucolic enjoyment that seems so rare and hard to obtain in our fast filled days. King’s words perfectly grasp those universal feelings that are often incredibly difficult to name but also instantly recognizable. This collection is a joy.

Pages: 142 | ASIN: B08X77TC9K

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Ghost Hunts

S. J. Lomas Author Interview

S. J. Lomas Author Interview

Winter Chills is a collection of seasonal ghost stories that entertain and spark the imagination. How did the stories in this collection come together?

This collection was a collaboration between 4 writers who met through the #WritingCommunity on Twitter. I (S.J.) was in the process of starting up 8N Publishing, and a conversation with D.B. Carter led to the idea for this book. Derek R. King and Natalie Reeves-Billings were invited to contribute because I’d seen some of their work and was very impressed with it. I thought our individual styles would mesh well to create a cohesive overall book.

Winter Chills was born.

The Holiday Party was my favorite story from the collection. What was your favorite story from the book?

Thank you so much! It took me a lot of false starts before I was able to write The Holiday Party, so it really makes me happy to know you enjoyed it so much.

It’s hard to pick a favorite. Each story is special to me for different reasons. I think they all work well together, as a whole, even though we wrote them separately without knowing what everyone else was writing.

I’m very proud of how it all turned out.

What was the inspiration for your story, ‘The Holiday Party’?

I have a friend who’s a paranormal investigator. I’ve gone on a couple of public ghost hunts with him and it was a fascinating and peaceful experience. It really made me wonder ‘what if?’

I took that feeling and tried to apply it to the progression of the story.

Do you enjoy writing short stories, or do you prefer to work on longer novels?

It had been years since I’d written a short story, so trying that out again was a bit of a challenge for me. Every word and action has to count in a short story. You don’t have the luxury of tens of thousands of words to build up to the climax. You only have a few thousand. If you don’t start in the right place, or relay the right events, it won’t work. It was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it.

I’m working on a new series of novels now, but also starting a short story for a future collection. It’s good to keep the writing skills sharp by trying different things from time to time.

Author Links: GoodReads | TwitterFacebook | Website

In the spirit of seasonal ghost stories, this wintry collection will send a tingle down your spine, but may also warm your heart.Six short stories range from waiting for a mysterious midnight train, attending a party with an unexpected guest, a life-changing reunion for a miserable family, receiving a holiday greeting unlike any other, a visit from an unusual group of carolers, and a journey through a blizzard with a twist. Grab a blanket, your favorite hot drink, and settle in for some Winter Chills.

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Striking a Balance

Derek R. King Author Interview

Derek R. King Author Interview

The Life and Times of Clyde Kennard is the account of Clyde Kennard’s life and his significant but silent contribution to desegregate the South. What was your inspiration that made you want to write this book?

I’ve always had a fascination for the 1960’s and, reading and researching key events in that decade, one name kept cropping up, but generally only within a couple of paragraphs or a few pages at best, and that name was Clyde Kennard. I decided to hone in and further research this man to see what I could find out.

So to begin with it was really that lack of information about Mr Kennard that drew me in and I became intrigued as why that should be when many others of the civil rights movement of that time have received more attention.

The more I researched and discovered about Clyde Kennard, the more determined and passionate I became about the telling of his journey and how his efforts inspired others many decades later.

I understand that you spent more than ten years researching this book. What is something that surprised you while researching Clyde Kennard?

Yes, that’s right, and in that period my initial six pages of notes on grew into the book that exists today.

There were a few surprising things. One would have to be the lengths to which state actors would go to in those times in an attempt to stall or circumnavigate SCOTUS decisions. Another that a state would create an agency whose sole purpose was to protect it from “federal encroachment” and in essence spy on its citizens, in particular those who sought benefit from SCOTUS decisions among other things.

While these were a surprising, nothing, and you touched on this in your book review, nothing comes close to the disbelief I experienced learning about the Emmett Till case. I do still find that quite difficult to comprehend on various levels. The violence, the acquittal, the accused selling their story to Look magazine it in some graphic detail but, due to prevailing laws there could be no retrial.

This book raises Clyde Kennard up along with other civil rights leaders of the time. Was this your intention while writing this book?

To a some extent Clyde’s story told itself, the trick for me was to present it in the context of the times he lived in which I felt was critical to give his story meaning.

That period was, in my view, a time of extremes, I’m sure we’ve all seen the flashpoint photographs, Little Rock Central High, the firebomed Freedom Ride bus, Ole Miss at the time of James Meredith’s entry, the March On Washington and of course Selma.

To better understand the social and political climate of those times I completed a lot of research form both sides of the segregation debate. I wanted to try to understand not only what the issues were and why they had become so and also latterly, how those scenarios had come to be in the first place. Hence the Prologue in my book which attempts, in a few pages, to summarise how the respective positions had begun to develop over time.

The challenge with that of course was striking a balance, between Clyde’s own story and the context of those times, I think I got that right, but readers will be the real judges.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have enough research material I didn’t use to do another book on the same or related topics, however 10 years is a long time and I’ve been enjoying a little bit of a break to be honest. That said, I’m beginning to get the itch to do something. I’ve written a few short stories and I’m really enjoying that. I have also been considering a larger project on the Highland Clearances which would be a little closer to home for me. I am also gathering my poetry so may do a collection of those works. Availability wise, I will be sure to let you know.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterWebsite

The Life and Times of Clyde Kennard by [King, Derek R.]

In 1955, Clyde Kennard, a decorated army veteran, was forced to cut short the final year of his studies at the University of Chicago and return home to Mississippi due to family circumstances, where Kennard made the decision to complete his education. Yet still on the eve of the civil rights movement in America, Kennard’s decision would be one of the first serious attempts to integrate any public school at the college level in the state. The Life and Times of Clyde Kennard tells the true story of Kennard’s efforts to complete his further education at Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi) against the backdrop of the institutionalized social order of the times and the prevailing winds of change attempting to blow that social order away. As Meredith’s admission to “Ole Miss” became more widely known at the time, Kennard became the forgotten man. Author Derek R. King shares his extensive research into Kennard’s life, and touches on key events that shaped those times.

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